Majority of Young Adults Support Abstinence Programs To Prevent HIV/AIDS, Unplanned Pregnancies, Harris Poll Says
A majority of young adults ages 18 to 29 supports abstinence education as a method to prevent HIV/AIDS, and about half support the method to prevent unplanned pregnancy, according to a recent Harris Poll, the Washington Times reports. According to the poll, which surveyed 1,961 adults in December 2005, 56% of participants ages 18 to 24 and 60% of those surveyed ages 25 to 29 believe abstinence education is effective in preventing or reducing the occurrence of HIV/AIDS. Forty-nine percent of participants ages 18 to 24 and 52% of participants ages 25 to 29 believe the method is effective in preventing or reducing unplanned pregnancy. According to the survey, younger participants responded more favorably toward abstinence education than those in older age groups. Forty-three percent of participants ages 30-39 felt abstinence programs were effective against HIV/AIDS compared with 41% of participants 40-49, 37% of participants 50-64, and 31% of participants older than age 65. Among the participants surveyed who were older than 40, 30% to 33% felt abstinence programs are effective against preventing unplanned pregnancy (Harper, Washington Times, 1/22). Overall, a majority of the people surveyed do not believe that abstinence programs are effective in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS or unplanned pregnancy (Harris Poll, 1/11). The poll says the finding is "striking," adding, "Adults under the age of 30 are more likely to believe that abstinence programs are effective, and it is of course these adults who are the main targets for the programs" (Washington Times, 1/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.